They’re not really the done thing in Dubai, but intimate, underground club nights are the aim of the We Are…collective
They’re not really the done thing in Dubai, but intimate, underground club nights are the aim of the We Are…collective. Bringing together four pre-existing tech-house nights and their promoters, We Are… switches weekly between Substance, Circus, TechFui and Warped, all at Catwalk. Each night has its own feel, although there are a few founding principles that hold them together. Aside from a devotion to house and techno, the promoters all share a belief that stripped-down club nights, focusing on the music and the crowd, are exactly what Dubai needs.
On Friday 25 it’s the turn of We Are… Substance, currently the biggest of the four nights; the music here has a deeper house sound than the other events. Expect ‘big fat basslines’ and ‘proper grown-up house’, explains promoter James Hastings. ‘It’s about as far away from Hed Kandi as you can get.’ The tunes are more obscure than at Dubai’s bigger venues, but they’re accessible – the tagline for the We Are… concept is ‘the music, the sound, the crowd’.
The resident DJs, Rich Showell and Steve Darley, have worked hard to build the night into something consistently good, and they’ve done a great job – the venue is near capacity at each Substance event. And with room for a maximum 350 people, it’s intimate without being small; the kind of night you’d be more likely to find in London or Berlin. ‘You won’t find it anywhere else in Dubai,’ explains Hastings. ‘This is proper underground clubbing with no frills.’ You won’t get glitz and glamour or the regular VIP elements, but all the effort saved has gone into the music. It’s underground music with an underground feel. And it’s good.
Crucial to the success of the night is the venue. Catwalk, the below-level club at Al Barsha’s Golden Tulip Hotel, was chosen as the perfect place for Substance et al to call home. ‘The venue makes it,’ says Hastings. ‘It’s small, it’s intimate, the sound is excellent. The lights are great. The staff are lovely and we get absolutely no aggravation. It’s amazing – an absolutely top-drawer location’.
And our favourite thing about this venue? It’s indoors. Summer’s here, the beaches are closed, so get down to Catwalk quick before everyone else has the same idea.
We Are… Substance is at Catwalk on June 25. Entry is free all night. For info, call 04 341 7750